Janesville City Council expected to approve funding for new outdoor fitness center

Janesville City Council expected to approve funding for new outdoor fitness center

Come June, people living in Janesville may be able to retire their gym memberships in favor of a first-of-its-kind, fun and free workout.

The Janesville City Council is set to approve funding for a new, outdoor fitness center at a meeting Monday night, becoming the first Wisconsin community to do so.

Janesville was one of 100 cities selected by the National Fitness Campaign last year to build an outdoor gym.

“They contacted us last year about it,” said Paul Woodard, director of Public Works for the city of Janesville. “We thought it was something we should pursue. We thought it was a great asset downtown if we could get this so we’d be the first one in the state of Wisconsin to have one of these.”

City officials are calling the project an “outdoor playground for adults.” Anyone, of any fitness level, would be able to use it for free 24/7.

If the city council approves the funding for the project, the fitness court would be built near the intersection of Court and River Streets, near Ice Age Trail and the YMCA.

The court would measure 38 by 38 feet, a little less than half the size of a basketball court, with 30 pieces of workout equipment. 30 people could work out at the same time.

“It’ll have the same surface like you see in our Camden Playground,” Woodard added. “The rubber surface mat and then 28 stations for people to work out on.”

Rock County Public Health says 67% of adults in the country are overweight or obese, so Janesville officials are hoping the outdoor gym will not only grow the downtown area, but promote a healthy and active lifestyle for people living there.

“It adds another activity to downtown Janesville,” said Woodard. “The more people we get downtown, the more people will get downtown, which makes it a more vibrant downtown.”

The project costs about $110,000. The city would borrow $60,000. $40,000 would come from SSM Health, and the rest from a $10,000 grant with the National Fitness Campaign.

If the city council approves the funding Monday night, construction will begin in May and the fitness court will open in June.